Hard Rock Would Have Interest in 2 NJ/NYC Casinos, 8 Miles Apart
As far as Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International, is concerned, the more casinos, the merrier.
Allen, the South Jersey native who began his gaming career as a cook at Bally's Atlantic City, addressed the speculation that Hard Rock is considering casinos in both North Jersey and New York City at the East Coast Gaming Conference in Atlantic City this week.
The Associated Press is reporting that Allen said Hard Rock wants to build a casino in or near New York City, even as it holds on to hope of building another casino in northern New Jersey, about 8 miles away.
Allen even used the Atlantic City gaming market to validate his opinion that an area so close could accommodate two Hard Rock casinos.
“How many casinos do you have lined up right here?” he asked in Atlantic City, where we have nine. “One hundred percent, the market is large enough.”
What about the impact on those nine Atlantic City casinos if North Jersey and NYC gambling locals have so many other gaming options right in their backyard?
It's not like the Hard Rock doesn't have some skin in the game when it comes to competition for Atlantic City from North Jersey and New York City casinos. They just spent a half-billion dollars to renovate the Taj Mahal in 2018.
But, Allen and company realize that more casinos are coming to New York, and, if someone is going to make money on them, it may as well be Hard Rock.
Last week, the New York State Gaming Commission issued a call for expressions of interest in the three remaining casino licenses. Other major casino companies, including Caesars Entertainment, Bally’s, Las Vegas Sands, and Wynn Resorts, also have expressed interest.
There are already four commercial casinos in upstate New York.
Allen said in an interview that the company is not abandoning a plan it unveiled in 2015 to build a casino resort at the Meadowlands Racetrack at GSP exit 153.
“We're interested in both markets, and if God is good enough to allow us to operate in both, we would be happy to do so,” he said.
Although Jim Allen isn't ruling out a North Jersey casino, voters already did.
Hard Rock would need permission from New Jersey voters to build in the Meadowlands. And, the fact is, we resoundingly rejected a plan in 2016 that would have authorized casinos outside Atlantic City.